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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 12, 2014 4:23am-6:31am EST

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trauma which is not limited just to women. it largely affects women but women veterans face challenges every day and i think people need to be aware of them and make sure that there are more resources focused and more awareness about the woman soldier and veteran. host: as we mark veterans day on "washington journal" our cameras live on the what -- national mall bringing to you several pictures of all the different memorials. there is the world war ii and the veterans memorial -- the vietnam memorial. youill continue to show what washington looks like today on this veterans day. there are several events happening including the annual wreath laying ceremony that will take place at arlington national cemetery at 11:00 a.m. eastern time. vice president joe biden will be standing in for the president
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while the president is overseas in china. that is here on c-span. we are talking with verna jones, executive director of the american legion. here is a tweet -- guest: the legion believes that the a health-care facility and system is the best for veterans. they have choice cards for veterans that can go out in certain circumstances and they can receive medical care if they cannot get it timely or cannot receive that particular service at the va. the system is set up for veterans so we do not believe there should be privatization of health care. host: canton, ohio, a veteran and republican -- caller: good morning, c-span and good morning america. i'm a legion aire.
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i see a major issue since i've been using the v.a. for about a decade now. it is cultural. line toad to stand in get travel pay because i have to go up to cleveland. it costs a lot of money when gas prices were higher. i have had to stand in line and wait for an employee to finish their personal phone call. that burned me up. to be serious, i want everybody to remember what makes a veteran. result ofis the failed diplomacy. we are all responsible in this republic because we are represented to remember that when we go to war, it's all of decided thatn that is the proper action. nation is howof a they treat their veterans.
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we have to remember that and that's all i have to say. guest: thank you for your service and thank you for your membership. go are right, when veterans into the v.a. health-care facility, the employee should not be on the phone and veteran should be the first priority. anything the veteran needs should be the priority of that employee. i myself have gone through the american legion to do visits to the v.a. and witnessed those things going on. we brought that to the attention of the v.a. central office and to secretary mike donald letton we had our meeting -- to secretary macdonald when we had our meeting. thank you would you set about veterans. those are our nations he arose. -- heroes. your: what is responsibility of executive director and what is the role of american legion veterans issues in this country? what is the membership like? i oversee all
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functions of the washington, d.c. national records office. it's through the white house and congress and v.a. and the american legion is the nation's wartime veteran service organization, about 2.3 million members and we are founded on a strong national defense, taking care of our veterans, and promoting honor and patriotism. the american legion is veterans serving veterans. host: what about the 9/11 veterans coming back? how are you bringing them into the american legion and what is the attraction for them? isst: the american legion the largest veteran service organization and we take care of veterans and have been around since 1919. we have a long-standing history of strong advocacy for veterans. veterans comeer in, the attraction is that the american legion has always been there and we have a proven
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history and record of taking care of veterans. and of the younger veterans organizations that cater to young veterans, often times, they need we've been doing that for a long time. the attraction is we have been here and will always be here and we will it write most of the time. >> how much are the dues? >> it varies from post to post. there are yearly fees for dues. i would guess the average is around $30 ear. year. we have 2900 accredited officers navigateeterans through the theater system. -- v.a. system.
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the dues with the region air pays helpgionnaire advocate for veterans and help them with their claims and help them with whatever they need. , a veteran and an independent. jones.very proud of miss she is a very great spokesperson. i just want to make a quick bullet point and see if you follow up on it. in fort lauderdale, the mayor on cnn is arresting people that go out and feed the homeless veterans. you can watch that later on today. we have people who are is rude as you can possibly be.
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you have to wait until they are talking about their boyfriend or what they did last thursday before they can actually do anything for you. personal,is is my own no one that is a veteran should be working for the v.a.. whoe are a lot of people are not qualified to handle people that have just come back for more. -- war. appalled that the leader to brucespitals, i go it cannot getami, better. they are absolutely outstanding. why not a town meeting? the general administrator of the out and could come
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asked the veterans what are the problems you face? he is too high up in the crystal tower to get to. i would like to thank the american legion. i am a game man during the 1970's. this was when the psychological department or group said that gays were undesirable and we were child molesters and drug addicts. i received an undesirable discharge for no reason other than suspicion that i was gay and the american legion helped lead aashington discharge review. i am very proud of the american legion. greatk miss jones makes a representation. how does the legion feel
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about don't ask don't tell policy? been decided and it is off our radar. thatrk with any better and meets the criteria. host: james is in pennsylvania. a democratic color. go ahead. caller: i am james clark. i am in west virginia. the place saved me. i came through this process, i had a lot of personal problems. i was using drugs and they helped me. i have to say one thing. there has been a big change in the last six years. people have passed
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away. the director there seems not to care. there was just an article in the paper last week where a gentleman had cancer, a rare cancer. familyed to talk to his because he was doing surgery and he did not know if he was going to make it a not. for sevenicted him days because he had a can of soda in his room and was told he could not see his family. exactly, that was offensive a. it would be an uproar. i am scared to go there. i transferred all of my services. i am retired military police. i checked into the hospital one time.
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i went there because it was a favor. to make a long story short, the people did not like the reason that i came up there. they drugged me. i went up there twice. i went up there weighed 180 pounds and i lost 20 pounds in two days. i have a problem with that. think about, i facing them one more time. host: that was james and tennessee. gary is in memphis, tennessee. you're on the air. caller: i would like to make three points for comments. number one, the wait times for appointments, the goal that was days and isas 14 , the the department
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of defense goal is seven days. two, during the past 10 months, according to 7500essional testimony, veterans of died due to the long waits for health care and lack of adequate care for mental wounds. four, falsifying wait time data to obtain bonuses has veterans' resulted in deaths. nobody has been tried or sent to jail. this is been known for years. there was a memo that finally thatto light just recently was written back in 2008. just covering that, i wonder why
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all of a sudden it seems like this is a disaster in phoenix of theok to get some concerns of veterans. host: that was gary. guest: thank you for your service. a delay andsome had it was terrible. the american legion new that. that is why we called for the secretaries resignation. the minute there had been a secret waitlist, we knew that veterans were in crisis. that is why we developed a veterans crisis center. we knew we needed to put boots on the ground and get to where the veterans were to make sure they were receiving the service they deserve. we had other community service broughtners and
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veterans and to those facilities to make sure that they got what they needed. the result was within 120 days, we visited 12 facilities and saw 3000 veterans and were able to get $1 million in retroactive pay. phoenix should not have had that happen. it was unacceptable. that is what the american legion is going to continue to have these centers. keep ourontinue to finger on the pulse of what is going on with veterans and those with delayed wait times. host: david is in pennsylvania and a veteran. caller: thanks for having me talk today. i just want to ask a quick question. i got out about two years ago. i have been to three different the eight facilities.
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-- the eight facilities. each time i have seen a nurse practitioner. maybe you could touch on the subject. why are there not actual doctors seen veterans? a lot of people don't realize are doctors not seen the veterans. i have not once seen a physician. i read that these nurse practitioners are being asked to take on the part of a physician and they don't have a physician overseeing what they are doing and the calls they are making. guest: thank you for that and your service. different facilities have different medical professionals. , i don't knowity what the make up is. we would like to talk to more about that so we can have someone with policy look into that. foretary mcdonnell asked
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20,000 more professionals. we need to support the call for the increase. in a veteran goes into the facility, they are seen paul if i'd medical professionals. needs tohat the v.a. and see whatiously can happen to make sure that they give the v.a. what they need to make sure that veterans are being seen by the professionals they need to be seen by. story fromer recent "the washington times." let's go to mares in arkansas. caller: good morning.
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i would just like to make a comment on the american legion. the american legion for years, i was a member for years. the only help that you could really get from the american legion was through your republican a politicians and we always had problems because we could not be members. i got out of the american legion back when george bush and john kerry ran. people like me were saved by men like him. ae american legion is just conservative organization. legion isamerican championed by all veterans and is nonpartisan.
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what we care about is veterans. the american legion has sinceted for veterans 1919. we offer so many services. accreditedr 2900 representatives to help a veterans navigate through the v.a. system. legion doesn't care about your gender or your race. care of ourt taking nation's heroes and we do a great job of doing that. host: this is our camera live outside the vietnam memorial. you can see the people lined up to mark veterans day. there are several events happening around washington on the mall. over at the arlington national vice president joe
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biden will participate in that wreath laying ceremony at 11:00 eastern time. minutesgot about 15 left with verna jones. we want to get your thoughts on veterans issues this morning. howard is in florida and on the democratic line. i live in seminole, florida. when i was in the service, i was in vietnam. out, i am turning 65 this year. going to be losing some of my benefits over at the v.a.. i am going to get social security. understand. i have been going there and had operations and everything else. i don't have a lot of money. 65 and losingbe
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my benefits and i just don't social security could go to that to pay for people who can afford it. guest: thank you so much for your service and for sharing that information. i will ask you to call the american legion. i think we need more information. has changed, it may put you in a different category. without knowing, i would not be able to give you a good answer about what you need or what we can do. i would ask you to call the american legion. someone can help you. we will look at your particular situation and guide you in the right direction to see what you need to do for your benefits. tim is on the air with verna jones. caller: verna, thank you for your service and representing the american legion today.
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american legion member for 27 years. all of these that's that are -- that's -- vets that are coming back, i think they should inquire about membership. they are your voice. they are our voice that will hold the feet to the fire of our congressional leaders and the president when it comes to veterans issues. and thinkthank you the legion for what they have done over the years of service. thank you, tim. thank you for your membership. we are so proud of what we are able to do for veterans. it is a wonderful thing to be able to be part of the world's greatest veterans service
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organization. the american legion is holding town hall meetings. that because we really care about veterans and they deserve what the american legion is advocating for for them. democraticd is a caller. welcome to the conversation. caller: good morning. i am alfred nicholson and i am a disabled veteran. appeal with been on the department of veterans affairs since february 15, 1974. all the legal recourse i have , the veterans administration in north carolina and the board of appeals has blocked by every attempt. new material evidence was held from my file for 21 years.
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now the board of appeals is trying to change the date of my claim. they told me i needed to get an attorney. where do i go to get legal help to get my claim resolved that has been on appeal for about 41 years best of mark --? guest: people are waiting way too long. i am going to ask you to call. i want you to ask directly for me. direct youe able to to the right person. call the number and asked for verna jones. is an independent color. caller: i am not a veteran, but i salute all veterans. i would like to salute missed jones.
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i have done some work with the american leisure post 200 in mississippi. charles moore is the commander. if you are the executive director, you are there because you earned. they don't give you anything. you don't want any apologies. i appreciate that you represent yourself and the american soldier so well. i have a question in regards to there are african american posts and white posts. we also have another post that is white in our town. why is there a difference? what is the historic nature of that? if you can dwell on that a little bit and give me some history as to how that came about, i would appreciate it? guest: thank you for your
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comments. there are different posts in different communities. there are some posts that are historically african-american and some that are white posts. postearns go to which ever they feel more comfortable in. they go with a feel they can be the most service. air, --as allegiant legionnaire, -- a you go where you're most comfortable. we were established in 1919 and things were different then. if you go to an american legion post, you will not be denied membership because your gender or race. we welcome all veterans into the american legion. host: charles is in indiana and is an independent. caller: good morning.
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address some of the things that happened at the v.a. i know that congress has tried to address things. my brother goes to the ba and i have to take him because he can't drive. they wanted him to have a colonoscopy one time. i told him that he will have to stay overnight at the v.a. they told him he could not stay overnight. he would have to have the colonoscopy and then stay one night after. i told my brother that that doesn't make sense. i can't drive you three hours to chicago to have a colonoscopy after you have had that medicine. clinic.him over to the i will take him for a blood test and then i take them for a urine test.
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then i take him over for another hearing test area then he might have a doctors appointment the next week. if congress is working on that. i understand they have tried to. someone has to drive over an hour and a half to get to a clinic should be able to go to a local clinic and have their blood test or urine test taken. guest: thank you for calling in. this is going to cut down on some of that. talking about being more than 40 miles away from the vap that is an inconvenience and veterans should be accommodated better than that. your brother should receive a stress card. card,e gets that choice ask those questions about what he is entitled to based on the appointments he hast to have and
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how far he lives from the v.a. if you have additional questions, call the american legion. we will be able to help you. few: we have time for a more phone calls as we continued to talk with verna jones. this is veterans day. you have seen shots of our camera out on the national mall before the vietnam memorial here in washington. see the vets and their families and friends gathering around these memorials. across the country are marking veterans day. and it is in a fresno, california. caller: good morning.
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i am a widow of a veteran. you, who'dg to ask you contact by writing an e-mail for suggestions and complaints? my husband had filed a claim the same year he died. in 2007.back thatpt sending letters they were working on it. they were working on his case. when he died, everything stopped. i went to the veterans affairs and they had to call the oakland office. there was nothing in the booklet that said he was deceased. everything just stopped. he was not receiving any benefits. filed since he came out
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of the korean war. he had a claim number from back during that time. he did not know what the results were. his paper got burned in love those fires. i am still struggling with and disturbed by i don't know if he was ever entitled or not entitled to benefits because they completely stopped. he had authorized the paperwork where they could go to your doctors letters and then they sent me one to sign but did not explain why i had to sign one. it still should've been good for what he signed for. thessen in the claim for dependent.
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-- then he sent in the claim for the dependent. thing is not only that, my dad was in the navy. i do know when the policy changed with the veterans hospital. you used to just be able to go in with your dog tags or your dd .14 paperwork and get help my dad was treated in the hospital there. i was only a teenager. host: i will have verna addressed that. guest: i want to apologize that you have to go through that. you should not have to wonder what is going on with your husband's claims. things and itany seems like the paperwork, i'm not sure what is happening. i want to be able to help you happen i'm going to ask you to
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call the american legion or leave your phone number so we can contact you. we will have to look at all the paperwork and see what is going on. the claims shouldn't stop just because your husband passed away. you may be entitled to benefits because of your husband service. you can call the american legion. let them know why you're calling. they will connect you with someone who can look over that paperwork and help explain everything to you. that way you will know what you may be entitled to and what needs to happen next. we can help you through that process. host: is the american legion open today? the building is closed today. the staff and legionnaires are celebrating veterans day. host: peter is in idaho. caller: good morning. i would like to set -- salute verna and the american legion.
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i served in vietnam from 1961 until 1965. the v.a. has taken good care of me. v.a., woke up in the there was the american legion with a packet and a card and they were supportive of me. thank you so much. host: we hear peter's comments as we look at the vietnam memorial in washington. you can see the names and people leaving flowers and other memorabilia at the memorial this morning. we will go to chuck in hawaii. caller: hello. hello hot. half --aloha. have a question about the crisis centers. they are very successful.
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with them. i think they allow the veteran and the v.a. neutral ground. a lot of veterans are disenchanted with the v.a. and don't want to go there. the american legion has put together this program to allow veterans to come in and it a good thing for the veteran. host: thank you. guest: thank you, check. a veterans crisis center in hawaii and we were able to help a lot of veterans. we just want to say happy veterans day to everyone. the american legion is here to help you with what ever it is that veterans need. we feel very grateful and proud to be who we are and be able to help veterans that we help. if you have any questions, they can call us.
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legion.org host: thank you so much for
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he went to every kind of event hat you could imagine. by 19500 he was ready to run for governor advocating on behalf of the people. and he had two issues. one, the direct primary. no more selecting candidates at convention. two, stop the interests. specifically the railroads. >> watch all of our events saturday noon eastern on c-span 2 book tv and sunday afternoon at 12:00 on merning history tv on c-span-3.
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national captioning institute] the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit ncicap.org] >> we are live of the vietnam veterans memorial here as the nation commemorates that wednesday. it's the day that honors u.s. service members of u.s. armed
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>> how hard is it to follow kellly pickler? how about giving her a round of applause? we're honored to be back.
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this is one of the things i think i mentioned this the last three years when we put our calendar together for the year, there's just a handful of things that we put on the calendar and we don't let anybody knock them off. and this is one. it's because, as kelly said, it is important. it's important for the soul of the force and so my compliments to the sunshine so our congratulations to jd and kris tin for becoming the leaders of this incredible organization. and you can count on us to be among your biggest fans not only while we're serving but ong after.
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thanks for that. aisha said she thought the commandant of the marine corps had the coolest name -- frank grass, you might be at the other end of that. grass? i love you, man but -- anyway 1 every year i throw somebody under the bus and this year it happens to be you. over the last week -- one of the things that continues to surprise me is the way emotions kind of wash over you as the chairman and i'm sure the service chiefs feel the same way. there is always something that captures your imagination, your heart, your soul. and that last week alone, including this event tonight which i will mention in a moment, they week ago i was up at west point with my classmates celebrating our 40th reunion. yeah, it was unbelievable. one of the things we did is we took a cruise down the hudson river and it had been raining during the day but the rain kind of blue off -- blew out the bad weather and what we ended up with was an unbelievably crystal-clear fall night on this cruise, we saw the freedom tower in new york
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city and we all got some emories of that. all of a sudden, they announced come out on deck because we are about to approach the statue of liberty. we walked out on deck as a group. you can probably do the maths so you know it's my 40th anniversary -- 40th reunion come you can probably tell how old we are but we walked out on deck and i'm not kidding you -- the size and the magnitude and the majesty and the beauty of the statue of liberty was just -- it was awe-inspiring. when you think about what it stands for -- honestly, for a unch of us who were just telling lies to he cut -- each other all week about who we were and what we hoped to be,
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-- you kind of remember who we are. it was one of those moments so that was on saturday night and today, i went to the passage of ommand for the united states marine corps where the 35th commandant, jim amos, past command to the 36th commandant, joe dunford and i will tell you what, i am proud to be a member of the united states army but i also have the shoot bid -- the privilege of eating chairman of the joint chiefs. if you could see the pride with which those young men and women stood tall and passed in review and were there for this ceremony honoring their outgoing commandant and their new commandant, it just made you want to stand taller and straighter it's hard to stand straighter at least at my age.
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but the point is, the pride of the young men and women who served is absolutely inspiring. that is why, jd and all of you who served with the uso, that's why you do what you do because you want to match their pride with your commitment. it was just unbelievable. here i am again tonight so this is the trifecta for me. one week, three events where you can feel good not only about the military but about the country. now you can. let's give the country around you can feel good not only about the military but about the country. now you can. let's give the country around of applause. [applause] i already mentioned jd and christine and we want to welcome you -- by the way, there is nothing on this teleprompter. everybody else had something on he teleprompter.
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anyway but jd and christine, welcome aboard as we say, terrific. i also want to mention my teammates, the joint chiefs. some of them are here tonight and i saw ray odierno and john and some of the vices and the commandant of the marine corps, the the guy with the cool name and frank, the not so cool man guy. i could not be, honestly, i could not be prouder to be part of that team, the joint chiefs of staff. we've got a lot going on in case you have not noticed. if i had had this conversation with you and with them what, four months ago, we would not be talking about insecurity in europe or this thing called isil and we would not be talking about ebola and here we are. by the way, the joint chiefs
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and the men and women who serve, we will figure it out. we will figure out what the country needs us to do and we will do it. we will do it well and we are going to keep the country safe -- even while we are sitting here tonight, besides the young men and women employed on missions we already know about, we've got people packing their bags to go to europe to reassure our allies or go to iraq or kuwait to make sure that this threat of isil does not continue to expand and to go to places like senegal and liberia to make sure that this disease is contained and therefore does not become a threat to the homeland. that is what they do. the uso, i hope you did not think we would put you out of work.
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we are not going to put you out of work. you will have some work to do and we are proud to be partners with you in doing it. i also want to make a special mention tonight to a couple that happened to be here with us and to get, i think i'm a far less credit than they deserve or what they have done for their country and that's lloyd and charlene austin who happen to be sitting at our table tonight. if you value humility as a haracter trait, there is not many people i know better as humble as lloyd and charlene austin. when you think about the portfolio we have given him and the men and women who served with him, it's quite remarkable. he's got really big shoulders but it's even remarkable that even he can bear the weight of what we have asked him to
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do. join me in a round of applause or lloyd and charlene. i already talked about kellie pickler. what an incredible person and kyl her husband. so she is an extraordinarily successful and talented country-western singer and on a whim says maybe i will try that "dancing with the stars" thing and i'm glad she does not want to give a shot to being the chairman. i'm not sure i could fight her off. she is little, very little, but he is mean as a snake. that i want to mention one other person and i actually -- i try to mention this person every year. some of you have been here for these events in the past. i apologize for being repetitive but marilou austin -- where is she?
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let me tell you -- i don't know where she is i may get her to stand up and if somebody can find her with a spotlight -- marilou -- where is she? stand up. you are standing, i'm sorry. some of you heard the story but when i was a second lieutenant on the way to germany, it was january, 1975, i was lost. this is before sponsorship was a big deal. they kind of gave you a ticket to go to a place you could not pronounce. i got off of the aircraft and i went to where we all go when you're not exactly sure where to go. i went to the uso. ary lou was there.
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she steered me in the right direction and i told this story three years ago -- she came up to me after and said " it was me." i thought that was cool so every year now, here you are. she is down in atlanta now but here's the rest of the story -- last year mike son was redeploying from afghanistan through atlanta. guess who he met? arilou austin. last thing i want to say before i bow off the stage and we will get the chiefs appear to recognize the wonderful young men and women who are honored here tonight is i want to mention -- the army on many tonight has a special connection to me. i don't even think he knows it. my son was class of 2000 from west point and had a best friend by the name of tom kennedy. tom kennedy was killed just about two years ago now in afghanistan.
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in that incident, there was a suicide bomber with a suicide vest. among the folks who made the situation less catastrophic than it could have been was sergeant andrew mahoney who happens to be the army nominee tonight.. he actually tackled a couple of the members of the team that were there and prevented them from being killed in that incident. that is who we are, right? i never met him but i will meet him here in a moment. we've got a connection that i did not even know we had until i read the bio. here's the deal, people say to me what's it like to be chairman right now? it's hard to describe
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actually. it's probably hard for all of us to describe what it's like to be serving just now when we are. but i did find this little irish ditty. can i get a drink of water before i try to bang out this irish tune? can somebody hand me a drink of water? somebody back there has got to be listening. by the way, this is the guy that put me in this position. i will never forgive you for his. thanks, sir, george casey, 36 chief of staff of the united states army. i found this little -- it will shock you when i tell you it is an irish ditty but it is a little story about a brick layer. he was a brick layer and he was actually writing to his boss to explain why he was not at work on this particular day.
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it's called " the sick note." i would describe it as analogous to what it's like to be serving at this level at this particular point in time. here's how it goes -- sir, i write this note to you to tell you of me plight and at the time of writing, i am not a pretty sight my body is all black and blue me face a deathly gray i write this note to say why patty is not at work today while working on the 14th floor, some bricks i had to clear now to throw them down from such a height was not a good idea the foreman was not very pleased he being an awkward sod. he said i would have to carry them down on the letter with me hod. clearing all the bricks by hand, it was so very slow so i hoisted up a barrel and
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secured the rope below but inme hasted to do the job, i was too blind to see that a barrel full of building bricks was heavier than me so when i did untie the rope, the barrel felt like lead and clinging tightly to the rope, i started up instead while i shot up like a rocket to my dismay i found that halfway up i met the loody barrel coming down the barrel broke me shoulder as to the ground it sped and when i reached the top, i banged the pulley with my head but i clung on tight through
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phnom penh shock from this almighty blow and the barrel still don't have to bricks 14 floors below now when these bricks have fallen from the barrel to the floor i then outweighed the barrel and so started down once more still clinging tightly to the rope, i sped back towards the ground and i landed on the broken bricks that were spread and scattered around while i laid there groaning on the floor, i thought i had passed the worst when the barrel at the pulley wheel, and then the bottom burst a shower of bricks rained down on me i had not got a hope as i lay there moaning on the ground i let go the bloody rope the barrel then being heavier, it started down once more
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and landed right across me as i lay across the floor well it broke three ribs and my left arm and i can only say that i hope you'll understand p whyaddy's not at work today. cheers and applause] thanks. on behalf of the joint chiefs, let me tell you how proud we are to be part of this ceremony tonight and how proud we are of the men and women who serve and serving our country
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side-by-side with the uso. god bless you all, thank you. >> i don't think i have enjoyed anything more than watching the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff singh and irish ditty a cappella. it was incredible. we have to get some kind of celebrity idol going on. kelly come come out and coach you. by the way, this is for irish people, no? that's why all the drinking, ok? they will tell you that was true. to help recognize this year's
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uso service members of the year, please welcome back to the states, dr. crouch, general eyer, and general dempsey. and assisting us with the award presentation this evening is the daughter of a retired u.s. army major and miss district of columbia, teresa davis, a proud military brat. she dedicated saluting the military and their families. each year, we come together to celebrate, honor, and recognize a servicemember from each branch of the military for their outstanding and heroic actions. our first presenter is a graduate of the united states military academy and served key operational leadership posts in europe, the middle east and the united states. to present the 2014 u.s. soldier of the year award in the please welcome the army chief of staff general raymond brodeur now -- general raymond oh dear no -- odierno. >> thank you very much. general dempsey was a 37 chief
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of staff and i am the 38. like all things, talent skips a generation. so as we pick the next chief, we will be conducting singing auditions before we decide who the chief will be. general dempsey has volunteered to be one of those who graze the audition. -- who graze the audition. i want to thank everyone at the uso for this incredible evening and for what you do. everyone of us who wear uniform have our own uso story. we can all set up. and tell a great story of how it impacted us or one of our family members or one of our soldiers. i want to thank everyone for that tonight. i also have the honor tonight of presenting the soldier of the year. we often talk -- as i go around, i say that the army, the strength of the army is our soldiers.
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tonight's awardee, sergeant mahoney, is incredibly representative of that. we often talk about courage, competence, commitment, and character and he represents all of those incredible things. we are very, very proud of him as he represents the army this evening. our honorees are accompanied by family and friends tonight while we recognize these extraordinary service members, we also want to recognize the family members and friends of our honorees. in so many ways, our family and friends served with us. it's obvious to me that sergeant mahoney has a close and loving family supporting him. he is joined tonight by his wife melanie, his parents lori and james, his siblings travis, trevor, and sarah and his sister-in-law christie and
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brother-in-law ray. i want to thank all of you for supporting andrew. thank you so much. on the morning of august 8, 2012, sergeant andrew j mahoney help to tackle a suicide bomber near the provincial governor's compound in afghanistan. he saved the lives of 24 people. including the fourth brigade combat team fourth infantry division's commander at the time, colonel now brigadier general james mingus. ever vigilant as the team was proceeding on foot from the forward operating days to its destination when it reached a narrow bridge. sergeant mahoney noticed the individual and identified abnormal bulge under his shirt. as sergeant mahoney and captain
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grover tackle the bomber, the assailant detonated his best wanting both soldiers. captain grover suffered wounds to his left leg and sergeant mahoney suffered a severe soft tissue wound to his left forearm and trap the ones to his right shoulder and leg. for his exceptional gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty, sergeant mahoney receives the silver tar. ladies and gentlemen, it's my distinct honor to present to you the 2014 u.s. oh soldier of the year, sergeant andrew mahoney. u [applause] ♪ ♪
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♪ >> we are honored to have a sensible alumnus and naval aviator here to present the uso marine of the year award. please welcome marine corps deputy commandant of programs and services, lieutenant eneral waters.
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[applause] >> thank you so much. unfortunately, the marine of the year could not be with us tonight as he is currently attending officers candidate chool. however, you have to do what you have to do. several members of his family are here on his behalf and i would like to take a moment to recognize them. his wife jody who is expecting their first child in december -- speaking to her backstage, she says she is due on the fifth. her husband is not ready to deploy until the 12th. schedule dependent. the teleprompter notwithstanding, i will make a shameless plug and i did the math and i think and 2032, we will have another recruit. i would like to recognize his father-in-law, john and his mother-in-law celeste,
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is aunt and his uncle, atherine and don keller. sergeant matthew melici is an osprey crew chief and defended his aircraft and the crew during an approach of a reconnaissance rated to a heavily defended enemy landing zone. his actions warranted the presentation of the distinguished service for his heroism and on june, 2012, he was serving as an aircraft gunner to death delivery suppressive gunfire while approaching the landing zone. this allowed the raid force chooses some part -- disembark the aircraft and engage the enemy. despite serious damage to the control system and gunfire, he kept the aircraft commander and crew appraisal the
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situation. the california native maintained his poise while returning to the area to support the withdrawal of the raid force enabling the successful completion of the mission. his superb airman to inspired courage and loyal devotion reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the marine corps nd united states naval service bradleys and gentlemen, i'm honored to present the 2014 u.s. oh marine of the year to sergeant matthew e, belleci. >> accepting on behalf of the sergeant is his wife jody. [cheers and applause] >> this is an extra barry
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knight. i feel like cuba gooding junior in "jerry maguire" you all are oing to make me cry. a native of butler, pennsylvania, this admiral has served at every level of command in honolulu seven fleet to u.s. fleet forces command and now chief of naval operations. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 30th chief of naval operations, admiral jonathan greeneert.
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[applause] >> thank you very much. thank you, i as my fellow service chiefs are honored to be here tonight. i would like to extend a special welcome to the friends and family of our recipient, officer cromer. this is a family affair as well. his wife laura and his parents gary and marie are here. laura's parents,marita and richard are here. , he's got them all here tonight everybody gets along, it's a wonderful thing. i thank you all for coming out to support troy. before we present the award, i would also like to thank the uso for their longtime support as marty has said and ray said, we all have a story, good story about the uso of what they have done for ourselves and our shipmates and those of us who are serving.
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we are here to recognize brave and committed teammates who epitomized the selfless service that defines our military today. courageous and committed force continues to provide our united states with an advantage, and asymmetric advantage unmatched by any nation. officer first class troy cromer's job is in explosive ordnance disposal -- he is a one-person bomb squad. he distanced himself on numerous occasions. this is pretty amazing -- during a 2013 deployment to afghanistan where he was serving with a navy seal team 10. on a foot patrol, the petty officer's platoon encountered intense emmet -- enemy fire and were forced to withdraw in an armored vehicle. after leaving the patrol, and getting away from the ambush, troy is covered a remote-controlled improvised explosive device that was placed between the vehicles. you all know improvised
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explosive device is a homemade bomb. while directing fire against the enemy and getting her buddy out, he discerned the ied and allowed the platoon to save the department area. on a separate mission, petty officer cromer led for special operations vehicle through an area littered with ied's and disabled three of them and insured once again their safe passage. on another occasion, he located and destroyed about 1/4 mile long tunnel underground cave system that had been used to store a bunch of weapons and explosives and got rid of that. two other separate occasions in other instances, his quick actions and bravery helped save the lives of at least five wounded afghan soldiers, those who are serving with him. petty officercromer has received the army commendation medal and the navy and marine corps achievement medal with a combat v and action ribbon.
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you might think that's pretty extraordinary, there is more. after a couple sheet all of that, most of us would have gone to duty and be completed and go home. this sailor, while he was off duty, rescued a mother and her 18-month-old daughter from a burning apartment. in his free time -- he dedicates a lot of time, countless hours to the make-a-wish foundation. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome a really handsome looking guy, by the way, but he's taken -- the 2014 sailor of the year, petty officer first class troy cromer. cheers and applause]
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>> our next presenter is a native of washington, d.c. and also the first air force officer to serve as assistant chief of staff on the white house military office. to present the 2014 uso airman of the year award, please look him vice chief of staff of the united states air force, eneral larry o. spencer. [applause] >> good evening, everyone.
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you may have noticed a little ruckus in the back because i demanded equal time with the chairman. you can tell obviously i am not from irish ancestry. but i actually wrote a rap ong. [cheers and applause] however, because he said it's getting late, i have to wait until next year. sorry, chairman. >> after party. >> ok, after party. i am honored to represent general mark welch this evening. his family and friends are here this evening. joining senior airman john c hamilton in the audience tonight are his wife andrea, his mother sabrina, stepfather paul, father mark, and stepmother teresa.
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[cheers and applause] lieutenant colonel mason doolan and his wife are here to support airmen hamilton. lieutenant colonel dollan was a special tactical squadron commander and had the foresight to nominate john for this award to thank you. both of you represent the values of honor and integrity we hold so dear. senior airman john c hamilton, a parrot rescue men, distinctions up when he displayed remarkable courage and critical life-saving medical skills during an august 14, 2013 firefight in afghanistan. senior airman hamilton acted as a rescue and battlefield trauma specialist for an elite army special forces team during 13 high risk combat missions in afghanistan. while assaulting a knownhakani network sanctuary, they were pinned down by heavy fire and
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his bravery and medical expertise help save the life of a wounded comrade during the four-hour firefight and that proved decisive in preventing his small unit from being overrun. senior airmen hamilton who enlisted in the air force in 2009, had been assigned to the 23rd special tactics squadron since 2012 and hold combat diver, freefall, and static line qualifications and is nationally certified paramedic. his dedicated service earned him and air force chief and metal and is a compass must reflect great credit upon himself and the united states air force. ladies and gentlemen, i am pleased to present the 2014 u.s. so air men of the year, senior airman john c amilton. [cheers and applause]
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>> our next presenter leads the largest component of the department of homeland security. to present the award for the 2014 uso coast guardsmen of the year, please welcome the 25th commandant of the coast guard, admiral paul s. zuchoonst. >> all right, you have heard it
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rom a-z. aisha, i'm not sure which is more difficult your name or my. i have the not cool name. my last name means future and the future of the coast guard s very bright. in two months, the u.s. coast guard, the shallow water service, will cover all seven continents on the globe. today, we are in afghanistan, iran, africa, liberia, in south america, china, we are everywhere and i could not be more proud to serve the service but i cannot be more proud to have a seat that chairman dempsey has afforded me to be a guest on the chairman of the joint chiefs as we deal with many challenges that face us and the world ahead. really what people ask -- why do you give to come to work
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every day? what causes you to get up to work every day is the people we are proud to serve. first of all, we are an all volunteer service and how appropriate we are here with the uso, an all volunteer service as well. i'm just delighted to say that my wife fran is one of those 29,000 volunteers. she kept her maiden name because no one can pronounce zukunft so people would come through reagan national air force -- airport at the uso office and asked what her usband does. all of a sudden, they laid down alms but fran is anything but that. she is very proud to be part of this great organization that we call the uso that serves our members and not just our members but our families as well. there's a family i will call
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out tonight and that is the family of petty officer brett bates, joined tonight by his ife leanne and joined by his mother and father lisa and mark and his grandfather doyle. hy are we calling out -- brett tonight? many of you may have seen the movie "the guardian." [applause] brett bates is one of the guardians of the coast guard. he jumps out of perfectly good helicopters and he did so. it was back in april of 2013, launching over 100 miles south of galveston, texas and there is a fishing vessel foundering in 15 foot seas. normally you lower your rescue down by a hoist and it was too rough to lower him down so he jumps out of a perfectly good ircraft.
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he swims up to a life raft. then he not only comes up to the life raft but he says," it's ok, i'm here to give you a lift." that's exactly what he did but if we could do the same with ebola that he did with this mariner in distress, and then he hooked up, and then we lifted this mariner out and all thanks to brett bates for doing that. if that was not enough, he also is an emt. on a tennis court, somebody playing tennis suffers cardiac arrest and he happened to have an id kit and administered cpr and saves another life. he has done that again and again. and so he is truly a lifesaver. the biggest challenge for me as i call ourselves the silent service because we never talk about what we do. brett bates is one of the many in our service that time and again, they save lives and
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that's what i'm trained to do. what you heard before his many heroes who have come before them and i will call another one out but that's what he is trained to do, to serve our nation as a volunteer. sobrett bates, please come forward to be recognized, thank ou for your service. [applause] >> i would like to think
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admiral zukunft for correcting me so beautifully. t was very classy. my people cannot help but to put flair on everything we do. if your name was smith, i would all you smithay. 'll never forget it again. i will remember it when i am crying alone in my hotel room. it's all good. the national guard provides a vital role in the nation's defense -- hold it together -- both at home and overseas. in his civilian life to merit presented pursued a career with the u.s. army corps of engineers to present our national guardsmen of the year, please welcome the 27th chief, national guard bureau general frank j graff.
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[cheers and applause] ♪ >> good evening, everyone and i think if i checked the schedule, i am the last military presenter. i've got the simplest last name. i got to tell you when i went to basic training i went to ocs, that name did not give me any benefit whatsoever. i was thinking as i was standing there listening to general dempsey throw me under a bus a few times and i'm the last military presenter, we've got a great chairman, no doubt. you should here this guy sing frank sinatra. for pat and i it's a real pleasure to be here and so many places we have been, what a great organization that takes care of the men and women. you don't ask for anything. you walk in over and over, i have seen it, and i have to tell you that no matter where i have been on the map, there's always a friendly smile and sometimes you really need that
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especially if you're going to dover or going somewhere to meet family and you need that smile to build your endurance up and do what you have to do when you have to notify someone. whenever you go in there and the family has been taken care of by the uso, it makes our jobs much easier. for everyone involved with the uso, thank you so much. before i introduce our award winner tonight, i want to introduce sergeant andrew multredder's family, his daughter cora, his parents are here, his brother al, sister-in-law emily, sister amy, and brother-in-law charlie. thank you so much for supporting this great warrior. andrew, as any guardsmen who has done his training is an active duty training on the weekend.
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at the end of his training, he was heading home and back to lexington, his training was and shelby, kentucky. on the 12th of january, 2014, on his way home, he came upon an overturned suv on fire. with no regard for his personal safety, he went to the vehicle. he saw the driver who was unconscious and still strapped in. assisted by two of his kentucky army national guard and army veteran that stopped to help, sergeant mehltretter took charge of the situation and went into action to extract the driver from the vehicle even while it was burning. he wanted to make sure there were no more injuries caused. so he began to organize the effort at the crash site. the driver who was a canadian citizen, as he came out of the vehicle, this combat medic,
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sergeant andrew mehltretter, uses combat skills and destabilize the patient and he stayed with that patient until the ambulance arrived. when the driver came back to onsciousness, he looked up and andrew said you are ok emma we are here with you. many folks especially the first responders say that andrew. save that gentleman's life anders commander said his dedication to duty and selfless service warrants recognition. his extraordinary here was him -- heroism establishes him as a professional, as a leader, as a mentor of soldiers. ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 -- the 2014 uso national guardsmen of the year, sergeant ndrew mehltretter.
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[cheers and applause] >> and now ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the 2014 uso service members of he year. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back asiha tyler and the vice president of monster, steve coker.
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>> i just want to say if i have not made it clear what an honor it's been to share this night with you. all night, people have thanked me for being here. i keep telling them how much of an honor it is for me and how grateful i am. that's not have lump. that's not casual conversation. i said yes immediately when i was asked. the best part of my job is all the close and the carpets and bowl - bull you read about -- the best part of this job is to give back and it's incredibly high honor to serve that there is no higher honor than to be of service to those who serve. i am so, so grateful to be here with you. as an incredible night for may. thank you.
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>> thank you and great job. >> except for the zumkunft thing - that was that. >> is that the only thing? >> that was the only thing. >> on behalf of monster military.com i want to thank you all for attending this evening. it is truly an honor to support the uso and their mission to lift the spirit of american troops and families and to jd and the uso staff, what an inspiring program you put together tonight. thank you for creating such an extraordinary event. to those who are honored this evening, i am in in all. i spake for everyone in this room when i say we are humbled by your stories. your courage and dedication in the service makes me proud to be american. you are what makes our country great. you have my sincere thanks and ppreciation.
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>> we have come to the end of a remarkable evening. as i've said, it's been -- yes, there is always something afterwards a hold on. it's in a real pleasure to serve as your mistress of ceremonies tonight and hear the stories of these incredible service man women and their families. you are incredible and we are so grateful for everything you do. i think -- there is one other thing -- >> there is one other thing. >> it feels like we did not lannett. >> the after party is getting started upstairs in the international terrorists. general spencer is still here? i hear we might have a rap. it may just motivate everyone to go. he's given us the thumbs up so we will see you upstairs, thank you. >> thank you for joining us, good night and god bless the nited states of america.
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national captioning institute] the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. isit ncicap.org] >> i enjoy q&a. i turn off the phones and get my cup of coffee and it's the most enjoyable conversation. >> good opinions. i enjoy listening to him and he comments today. he was very accurate and on point. he was not using his own personal inwendos. and i greatly enjoyed it and i hope you have more guests like that. he was right on target this morning. >> i'm calling to say that i think like many people c-span
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is wonderful. but as to criticisms i almost have none. and i'm a very partisan kind of person. but the reason i almost have none is i think you do a tremendous job of showing just about every side of everything and the way people look at things in d.c. and elsewhere. i take my hat off to you. >> continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching.
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>> dr. craig spencer, a physician in new york being treated for ebola was released after being declared eeb lo la free. today health and human secretary testifies on the government's ongoing response to protect americans from the ebola outbreak. we'll be live with the senate appropriations committee at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span-3. senate he house and
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return today at 2:00 p.m. eastern. the house is scheduled to debate 10 bills including updateing the presidenttial records act which would allow current and former u.s. presidents to continue to restrict access to surn certain records created during this presidency. votes expected on judicial nominations. over 2014 mid terms are or just about over and we look ahead to the lame duck session. we are joined by thehill looking ahead to the 113th lame duck session and give lawmakers a day or two to debate and vote. they've got a deadline in december. what is that and what will be included in this omnibus bill? >> they basically have a day or two based on what i've been told by people at the house
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appropriations committee to pass an omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year which would be to the end of next september. the problem is that the spending bill that lawmakers approved in september expires on december 11, which is that week. and people will only just a few days to debate and vote on the bill, otherwise what could happen is lawmakers might choose to extend the continuing resolution that's currently in place for maybe a short period of time until they pass this omnibus spending bill. >> that short-term extension sounds like they've done that in the past, how much is in this bill? is this basically the levels they agreed to, the budget that was passed earlier this year? and what other surprises may we see in that omnibus spending bill? >> that's correct. the level that will be in the omnibus spending bill will be at the level set by the budget deal
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that paul ryan and patty murray reached last december. it'll be around the $1.014 trillion mark. otherwise it's hard to tell exactly what's going to be new in this omnibus spending bill. obviously the white house has asked for two separate new funding requests that are pretty major. one is for the ebola fight and one is for the war on isis. those are the two funding requests that the administration sent to congress in the last week. lawmakers will obviously have to debate these requests and it's possible they could wind up in the omnibus spending bill. that's what the administration is hoping for. but of course there could be republicans who oppose those requests. >> you tweeted about that administration request, that $5.6 billion, here's your tweet, it says, democrats call for isis war vote in the lame duck. not only is there consideration of how much money but whether the president has the authority to do this, right? >> right. president obama has said he does
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have the authority to carry out military operations in iraq. and syria. however, he has said in the last week that he will seek an authorization to carry out these operations in the middle east. the problem is that a lot of democrats do want this war authorization vote to happen in the lame duck session since they do have control of the senate. however, republicans want it to be pushed until next year when they have the majority in the senate. i think that that might be what winds up happening, the republicans might get their way here, because they only have about 15 working days in session during the lame duck session at the end of this year. and i don't think they'll be able to get much done besides a spending bill and maybe a few other things. i think something as large as an authorization vote would have to have more time for them to debate and vote on it. >> let's move over to the senate and the nomination of loretta lynch to replace eric holder as attorney general.
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the president making the announcement last weekend. interesting that "the hill" and other organizations reporting about a possible delay in her nomination. the headline in "the hill" says democrats unlikely to ram through the obama attorney general pick. why would democratic leaders delayed the consideration of her nomination and wait until a republican majority takes control of the senate? >> i think democrats are not too concerned about her nomination. i think the white house put her forward as somewhat of a bipartisan choice. she has been confirmed twice before by the senate to be u.s. attorney in new york. so i don't think they'll have too hard of a time getting her through. even john mccain said earlier today that he thinks she will get through a republican senate next year. i don't think democrats are concerned and they don't have too many days to debate and vote
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on this sort of thing in the lame duck session. >> and senator mcconnell, the likely incoming majority lead of the senate, what are his thoughts on repealing obamacare? >> he's said repeatedly he wants to repeal obamacare. i wrote a story a few days ago about a number of conservative groups pushing for him to repeal obamacare. he has suggested he could use the budget tool called reconciliation to push out think -- push it through which would only require 51 votes in the senate. however, there are a number of legislative procedural hurdles he may face in terms of getting that appeal through. what would be much more likely, maybe president obama would be willing to sign, maybe a repeal of the medical device tax, maybe something on the employer mandate. something that might get some sort of bipartisan attraction. >> both the house and senate, republican and democrats, will hold their leadership elections
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this week. what are some of the races we should keep an eye out for? >> i think this won't be too controversial. republicans are holding their leadership elections on thursday as are democrats in the senate. i think what we're really looking for is what's happening in the senate, obviously, the two sides are going to flip, mcconnell is going to get the majority here. there's some races that are open that are not too controversial. as far as john boehner, i think he's going to get the speakership again. there might be a few tea party republicans that might choose to put their name in the hat but i don't think that he'll have too hard of a time. it seems pretty clear he'll be speaker again. >> and it looks like his hand is strengthened by the results of the election. >> that's exactly right. >> read more from rebecca at thehill.com.
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>> book tv and american history tv on the road. traveling to u.s. cities to learn about their history and literary life. this week and we partnered with charter communications for a visit to madison, wisconsin. >> it is a glorious service, the service for the country. the call comes to every citizen. it is an unending struggle to him make and keep government representative. >> probably the most important clinical figure in wisconsin history -- political figure in wisconsin history and one of the most important history of the 20th century in the united states. governor.eforming
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he defined what progressivism is. he was one of the first to use progressive to self identify. he was a united states senator who was recognized by his peers in the 1950's as one of the five greatest senators in american history. he was an opponent of world war i, stood his ground advocating for free speech. above all, he was about the people. in the air after the civil war, america changed radically from a nation of small farmers and small producers and small manufacturers, and by the late 1870's, 1880's, 1890's, we had concentrations of wealth, we had growing inequality, and we had concern about the influence of money and government. so he spent the later part of the 1890's giving speeches all over wisconsin. if you wanted a speaker for your club or your group, bob latta
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follow it would give the speech. he went to county fairs, he went to every kind of event you could imagine and built a reputation for himself. by 1900, he was ready to run for governor advocating on behalf of the people. he had two issues. one, the direct binary. inmore selecting candidates convention. two, stop the interests. specifically, the railroads. >> watch all of our events saturday at c-span2 and sunday afternoon on c-span3. next, vice president joe biden participates in the annual veterans day wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknowns at arlington national cemetery. the vice president and veterans affairs secretary robert mcdonald also speak at the
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ceremony. this is 45 minutes.
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>> present arms. [national anthem playing]
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>> present arms.
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["taps" playing] >> ladies and gentlemen, the
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vice president of the united states. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the procession of our nation's
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colors and those of our veterans' service organizations. as we march on the colors the , band will play the national emblem march. please place your hand on your heart or salute. there will be a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. ♪
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>> let us pray. almighty god, we invoke your presence and we ask that your blessings may come on us as we gather here in our nation's most hallowed memorial garden of heroes to honor our nation's veterans. we thank you for veterans of generations past and present who served both during times of war and peace. many of whom are bearing the physical, spiritual, visible and invisible wounds of war. we celebrate them for their faithful service in defending
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and preserving freedom for us all. we are grateful for our national and state veterans service organizations who many are represented today in this rousing parade of colors. we thank them for their ongoing willingness to support and advocate for veterans every day in so many valuable ways. we as a nation never fail to remember and support those who made the supreme sacrifice above and beyond to secure for our nation the blessings of life, liberty, and justice for all. god bless america, god be with our nation's leaders, bless the families and friends of those
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who we honor today, and thank you for giving us so much to celebrate on this veterans day. amen. >> now i'd like to invite mr. ron hope, national commander disabled american veterans, to lead us in our pledge of allegiance. >> please place your hand over your heart. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. >> please be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veterans day national committee.
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the committee was formed by presidential order in 1954 to hold this annual observance in honor of america's veterans and support veteran day observances throughout the nation. please hold your applause until i have introduced these special guests. if you will please stand when i call your name. ron hope, national commander, disabled american veterans. ryan horbert jr., national president, national veterans sole and exclusive. larry canard, national president korean war veterans association. angel zuniga, national commander american g.i. forum. nkle, catholic war veterans of the u.s.a. al kovak, national president, paralyzed veterans of america. ogne, commander
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jewish veterans of the u.s.a. john stroud, command for the chief, veterans of foreign wars of the united states. james pigeon, national first vice commander amvets. mark cornell, national president, blinded veterans association. version jones, national commander, army and navy union of the usa h. gene overstreet, commander noncommissioned officers association. william bryant, national vice commander, the american legion. patrick little, empowering veterans to lead high quality lives with respect and dignity. they're represented today by their national commander. ladies and gentlemen please welcome ron hope. [applause]
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>> good morning, america. ladies and gentlemen, families, friends, and most of all my fellow veterans. i'm privileged and honored to be here on the hallowed grounds of this beautiful memorial to speak with you today was i proudly served among the ranks of many a civil to your today. like many of you, i wore the uniform of my country proudly and served a cause greater than myself. the defense of our nation's and our -- of our nation and our freedoms we value so much. it's a special bond all veterans share and it's a privilege to share that bond with you on veterans day weekend. today is special to us. when the country calls, my brothers and sisters and i responded by saying send me. , on veterans day we all think about our brothers and sisters, those we served beside, those we
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led, those with looked up to, and those we lost. for us, veterans day could never be just another day of the year. military and veteran families are unique in this way. when a wife or husband, son or daughter raises his or her hand and says, send me, there's a great deal of sacrifice involved that most americans can't begin to understand. our men and women in uniform miss holidays, birthdays and other milestones other families take for granted because service members are often called away on duty. we're rapidly approaching the holiday season. military families often cannot invest the emotional capital of enjoying this time of year that is for most filled with joy, being surrounded by loved ones. it happens all too often in military careers, sometimes the rug gets pulled out from under
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you. when least expected, orders drop that, as many of you know, is like a hard kick in the gut. it's no wonder that only one-half of one percent choose to serve today, but serve they do and they, in my humble opinion are among our nation's finest and bravest because they raise their hands and say send me, i will go. when our country calls. i'm also proud to be part of a very special group, a group of people who left behind part of themselves while serving our country. disabled veterans, whether they're injury is visible or not, reminds us all of the phrase freedom isn't free, it's more than just a cliche, it's a daily truth we all live with. that's why i'm proud to be part of the d.a.v. disabled american veterans. we know our heroes want to live fulfilling live lives with respect and dignity.
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they don't ask for much and that makes it all the more important to keep our promise to our veterans who served. d.a.v. fights to make sure those promises are met and i urge you to get involve. let's briefly examine what veterans day means to those who said, send me. like i said, i like to keep things simple. let me share three words with you. has anyone ever heard of we the people? america's sons and daughters took an oath, put on american uniforms and have sworn to uphold and defend freedom in dangerous and desolate places. i'm very proud, as all veterans should be, when i remind myself that i'm part of a special group who committed to defend the ideas of our forebears. the concept of hard-won freedom and liberty outlined in our constitution gave birth to what
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was a profound and radical concept way back in 1789. a government that was responsible to the people who elected it. what about those words, duty, honor, and country? general macarthur said those words, reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be. they are your rallying points to build courage when courage seems to fail. to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith. and to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. because of the words "we the people" mean something to all americans, the words duty, honor, and country carry profound meaning to military members and veterans. committing to serve one's country and community is the single most important undertaking one person can make. i was and still am proud of my military service, but knowing i still advocate for the american
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veteran makes me prouder still. our veterans are part of america's greatest treasure. in my mind, they are the bravest, finest, and ensuring that we can and always will be a nation comprised of we the people. thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you today and remember that for dav, every day is veterans day. [applause] >> thank you, mr. hope. please welcome the honorable robert mcdonald, secretary of veterans affairs. [applause] >> vice president biden, medal of honor

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